The 405 shuts down, but we gain our lives.

* Finally cracked TIME Cartoons of the Week with this one! Yes, it took a local LA cartoon to make good on the East Coast. Also in Daily News today, LA Observed, CalWatchdog.

You can’t know the excitement here about…a Freeway. The worst freeway. The one everyone hates to hate, the 405. The warnings started weeks ago, and lighted signs everywhere else let us know that even on the East side we’re not safe.

They’re closing the Freeway for July 16 and 17 for 10 miles – but they really start work at 7 PM on Friday night, so it’s 2 1/2 days. Just like the riots, they’re warning everyone not to go anywhere. I guess we’re allowed to walk, since they’re into fitness, however. read more

Cartoons on WikiLeaks, vets, and the Pope!

Each week I think, I’m just going to limit it to the three best opinion cartoons this time, but I always find myself adding a couple of others – so I’m going to divide this roundup into a 2-parter.

I was shocked this week, SHOCKED to have an editor at a major book publisher tell me that they don’t publish many books of political cartoons “because they’re too hard to understand, and people feel like their brains hurt.” As I’ve written before, I never read political cartoons myself until a couple of years ago, so I feel their pain, but still…a smart, sexy editor can’t understand a cartoon?!

I can’t explain her mental state, but one problem I had was that I just didn’t follow the news enough to understand the cartoons- and another problem was the cartoonists themselves – messy, scrawling, ink scratching, with symbols and name tags and not a bit of humor, either. But they’re online and colorful now, and if you think of political cartoons as little puzzles, or mind games, you’ll have ever so much more fun with them!

I’m starting this week’s roundup with a cartoon by Dario Castillejos, on WikiLeaks. I like a lot of the foreign cartoonists, for both style and concept – they usually don’t have much dialogue, so they really work on their drawings! Uncle Sam is a rather tired symbol – I’ve never used it, nor been tempted to, in 2 years of doing cartoons – but this drawing of Uncle Sam as a scarecrow is pretty amusing! Oh, look, Mr. Crow has torn out his eye. Gulp. I like this grisly approach, maybe because it reminds me of Scarecrows, a truly scary good movie that I recommend.

scarecrows dvdAlso, I might have missed a

Building a mosque near Ground Zero? It’s a NO-brainer.

My latest cartoon on building a mosque near the Twin Towers.

Interesting story of man who burned the Koran on 9-11 and then was FIRED from his job at the NJ Transit Authority. From NY Daily News:

Derek Fenton, 39, of Bloomingdale, N.J., burned the book during a protest on the ninth anniversary of Sept. 11 outside Park51, the controversial mosque slated to be built near Ground Zero.

“Mr. Fenton’s public actions violated New Jersey Transit’s code of ethics,” an agency statement said.

“NJ Transit concluded that Mr. Fenton violated his trust as a state employee and therefore [he] was dismissed.”

“He said, ‘This is America,’ and he wanted to stand up for it, in a Tea Party kind of way,” a police source said.

Another police source said Fenton described himself as a “loyal American” exercising his “right to protest.”
If Fenton was fired for burning the Koran while off-duty, his First Amendment rights probably were violated, Chris Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union said.

I would think so! The guy is doing this on his own time, and certainly not representing NJTransit! I don’t believe any book should be burned, let alone religious books. But a book isn’t as bad as a flag, and he did have a right to his beliefs.

Myself, I did some research on the poor souls who were forced to jump from the Twin Towers on Saturday September 11, 2010. Very interesting, and I may post it here. It was the most horrifying part of the event to me, and perhaps to others.

And I think even Obama realizes now that he may have put a big schism in the Democratic party for voters, for him to act like this is no big deal. Freedom of religion, yes. But it’s not like everyone can just

Editorial cartoons for LA Times, April 2010.

Last week Joel Pett included a cartoon from Pulitzer Prize 2010 winner Mark Fiore in his selection of cartoons for the LA Times. He had to go back 10 years to find a cartoon by Fiore. This is because Fiore is an animator now, not a cartoonist, and hasn’t done cartoons for years. Is the Pulitzer Prize committee so terrified of the direction of journalism that they have to give an editorial prize to a MOVIE? Apparently, yes.

(Animation is included in the Academy Awards because it is a movie. It’s not in print anywhere, because it’s a movie. It has pages of dialogue, sound, music, voices, and much movie software because it’s a movie. It’s only in a handful of venues online because it uses up a hella lot of bandwidth, since it’s a movie.)

It looks like the Pulitzer judges can no longer be trusted to judge cartoons. I’m going to look into this further, and if this is the case, I’ll do my own judging for the Pulitzers next year, thanks.

Back to this week’s REAL cartoons that I think are best for the Los Angeles Times!

Dan Wasserman of Gocomics has a sly sense of humor! I liked one of his for last week’s roundup, too. Of course, he could have included a woman in the lineup, but that would just be icing on the cake. I am so ticked off at Goldman Sachs I could scream, as my grandmother would say. Humor is just a way of quieting the rage, while still drawing an excellent picture of how Goldman Sachs screwed the public. Again.

Here’s a great wordless cartoon by Arcadio Esquivel, of Mexico, I think, from Cagle Cartoons. Look at how the olive green and muted red bounce off each other! The cell phones look kind of dated…from 5 years ago? I wonder if priests really wear lemon colored tunics in other countries… No matter. Great illustration and comment. Since whites are now a minority in LA, I imagine Catholicism is the biggest religion, though I’m too lazy to look it up. Even so, the LA Times hates skeevy and anything too controversial, ev

Obama, pedophile priests, political Cartoons for April, 2010.

It’s Sunday, so it must be time for the Los Angeles Times Choice Awards! For editorial cartoons, that is!

I had to wade through a lot of elephants saying no to Obama (for Supreme Court nominees), and a lot of  Tea Party ridiculers, and of course Sarah Palin haters, before I found these gems. (I think Glenn McCoy and I may be the only cartoonists who even attempt to shed light on the liberal wussy left.)

I’ll start off today with a cartoonist who is firmly conservative, however: Lisa Benson from Gocomics.com.

Lisa is very local – lives somewhat to the North of LA, and is the cartoonist for a California paper. She usually attacks Obama, rather than political issues in general, as is true in this cartoon. For instance, one (like me) might target the evil bombing countries, but she prefers to blame the President! I picked this cartoon because the Nuclear Summit was in the news this week, and Obama’s facial expression and casual whistle as he walks away made me smile!

I guess I’m not always the best critic, because at first I thought she was saying Obama did a good job! But since the bomb is National Security, I guess not. Still, good cartoon (even though I don’t agree with the point of view) and she draws a credible Obama. Some other cartoonists might want to practice him, since he’ll be around for a while. :)

I picked almost all captionless cartoons this week. I prefer words, in general – no Wordless Wednesday for me! Also, I’m not a fan of black scratchy pen scrawls in online cartoons. Perhaps it looks better in the paper, which usually pays the bigger cartoonists like Mike Luckovich, so I see why they don’t want to change their style.  But nowadays, most people will see it online.

However, I couldn’t resist this one  of the Pope sweeping the pedophile

Tiger Woods, the Dalai Lama, and Bad Bananas.

You know what’s really weird? I had NO idea Tiger Woods was a Buddhist!  As I wrote in an earlier post, I knew he was a golfer, and that’s it.  It’s just that I was kind of annoyed Obama had that secret meeting with the Dalai Lama yesterday. Sensitive issue, or secrets exchanged? I  don’t know, but I like to know about these things ahead of time. No last minute surprises. So that was on my mind.

And then, it’s been building all week that Tiger Woods had his big announcement coming up. So… like any good cartoonist, I decided on a mashup of sports and an icon of a major religion. I had NO idea that Tiger would mention religion in his speech today…the religion of the Dalai Lama…and that my cartoon would be almost prophetic!!

there are no bad bananas cartoon

From CNN:

“People probably don’t realize it,” he said, “but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years.”

“I like Buddhism because it’s a whole way of being and living,” Tiger Woods told Sports Illustrated. “It’s based on discipline and respect and personal responsibility.”

Fox News Channel host Brit Hume stirred controversy by publicly advising the golf pro to become a Christian.

Thanks for that little nugget, Brit.

From the LA Times:

As expected, Woods did not reveal when he would return to playing golf, saying he will return to therapy Saturday “for guidance on the issues he is facing.”

Wearing a dark blazer and a blue shirt, Woods often had tears in his eyes during his statement, telling a group of reporters he was responsible for the scandal that has engulfed his family.

UPDATED: 8:47 a.m.: Woods also appeared angry when he asked the media to respect the privacy of his family.

The LA Times cares about your feelings.

(another version of this cartoon after the jump)